Edited Churchill Downs Report
Trainer Hal Wiggins was looking for an easy work April 16 at Churchill Downs for L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 1.
But “easy” is a relative term when it comes to describing the training activity of the star of Wiggins’ stable.
Rachel Alexandra zipped five furlongs in :59.40 over a “fast” track with jockey Calvin Borel in the irons. The move, which came just after the break for track maintenance, tied as the fastest of 21 at the distance.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Rachel Alexandra in fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36, and :47.60. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60 and seven-eighths in 1:24.20.
Despite the rapid time, Borel said the winner of the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park and Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. I) completed her task with ease and without urging.
“I’ve never asked her – it’s scary,” said Borel. “I’ve been on her all the time and I’ve never asked her. She’s just unbelievable, and she just gets better and better and better and better. I don’t know how good she can be.”
“As usual, she went a little bit faster than I really wanted, but she does it so easy,” Wiggins said. “The main thing we want to do now is just keep her fresh and keep her ready.”
Wiggins said Rachel Alexandra would have “a little easy breeze” April 27 and that would complete her serious preparation for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks. He said that work would likely be a four-furlong move.
Rachel Alexandra is on a four-race winning streak, all in stakes races, and her recent romp in the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park improved her record to six wins in nine races, with earnings of $621,440.
Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Street Sense in 2007, has been aboard Rachel Alexandra for that string of wins that started last fall in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. He said she was good then, but is a much better filly now.
“I’d say she’s about 40% better, just because of the way she’s blossomed,” Borel said. “Now she’s got so much power, it’s just unbelievable. I don’t know how good she is, to tell you the truth. She’s an awesome filly.”
Other Kentucky Oaks candidates on the grounds at Churchill Downs include Arnold Zetcher’s Gabby's Golden Gal, who scored a 13-length victory for Baffert in the Sunland Park Oaks, and J. Paul Reddam’s Nan, fourth to champion Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) for trainer Craig Dollase.